The Great Journey in Photography

About-Anna’s Hummingbird


500mm f7.1 320iso 1/320sec

This is the time of year that we notice the hummingbird more than the rest of the year. Here in California it is the Anna’s, also known as the west coast anna’s. Anna’s are the only Hummingbird i have seen here. They are plentiful along the Southern West Coast of the US. One of the great identifiers of the Anna’s is that they are for the most part green. More specific green with a white belly and iridescent color changing throat that most often displays as red. This is one bird that the sexes are fairly easy to distinguish, the male is the only US Hummingbird with a rose-red crown and the female has more grey and a spotter throat.

There are a couple of schools of though about photographing Hummers and they both involve flash. There is mixed light where you use a combination of flash and sunlight, like in the photo above, and lighting the entire scene with flash or strobe lights. When using ambient as a main light, at reasonable shutter speeds, you will almost always see motion blur in the wings. The strength of flash that is applied will effect the amount of blurring in the photo. When using flash as the main and only meaningful light source you typically get complete freezing of the bird including the wings. Using artificial light as a main light source usually means having to place several units around the scene to get complete coverage. Both techniques will yield spectacular images, it is really a matter of preference as to which is better.

Male West Coast Anna

Male West Coast Anna

One of the best videos I have seen about Hummingbirds is the PBS Nature Documentary “Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air”. You can see it at this link. and here is a YouTube video showing how the show was made. Both are well worth a watch.

See more of my photos here.


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